45. The Principles of Reflecting on Transgressions
(1) When one commits a transgression, let them not abandon themselves to despair, but understand that it is God’s will to save people to the greatest possible extent. True repentance is what matters most;
(2) When one discovers a transgression, they must pray to God and, in light of His words, reflect on and come to know the transgression’s essence and origin, coming to abhor themselves, and thus becoming able to repent;
(3) Grab hold of the essence and origin of a transgression and resolve it with the truth. Let practicing the truth replace transgression, lest you fall into your old ways and offend God’s disposition;
(4) Do not suffer being constrained by your past transgressions. As long as you pursue the truth, repent sincerely, and act in accordance with the principles as you perform your duty, you are still eligible to be saved by God.
Relevant Words of God:
For a long time, people who believe in God have all been earnestly hoping for a beautiful destination, and all of God’s believers hope that good fortune will suddenly come to them. They all hope that before they know it, they will find themselves peacefully seated at one place or another in heaven. But I say that these people, with their lovely thoughts, have never known whether they are qualified to receive such good fortune that falls down from heaven or even to sit on a seat there. You, at present, have a good knowledge of yourselves, yet you still hope to escape the disasters of the last days and the hand of the Almighty when He punishes the evil ones. It seems as though having sweet dreams and wanting things just how they like is a common feature of all people whom Satan has corrupted, and not some stroke of genius by any lone individual. Even so, I still wish to put an end to these extravagant desires of yours, as well as your eagerness to gain blessings. Given that your transgressions are numerous, and that the fact of your rebelliousness is ever-growing, how can these things fit with your lovely blueprints for the future? If you want to make mistakes as you please, with nothing holding you back, yet at the same time you still want your dreams to come true, then I urge you to continue in your stupor and never wake up—for yours is an empty dream and in the presence of the righteous God, He will not make an exception for you. If you simply want your dreams to come true, then never dream; rather, forever face the truth and the facts. This is the only way that you can be saved. What, in concrete terms, are the steps of this method?
First, take a look at all your transgressions, and examine any behavior and thoughts you have that do not conform to the truth.
This is one thing that you can do easily, and I believe that all intelligent people are able to do this. However, those who never know what is meant by transgression and truth are the exception, because on a fundamental level, they are not intelligent people. I am talking to people who have been approved by God, are honest, have not seriously violated any administrative decrees, and can easily discern their own transgressions. Though this one thing I require of you is easy to accomplish, it is not the only thing that I require of you. No matter what, I hope that you will not laugh in private at this requirement, and especially that you will not look down on it or take it lightly. You should treat it seriously, and not dismiss it.
Secondly, for each of your transgressions and disobediences, you should look for a corresponding truth, and then use these truths to resolve those issues. After that, replace your transgressive acts and disobedient thoughts and acts with the practice of the truth.
Thirdly, you should be an honest person, not someone who is always being clever and constantly deceitful. (Here I am asking you again to be an honest person.)
If you can accomplish all three of these things, then you are one of the fortunate—a person whose dreams come true and who receives good fortune. Perhaps you will treat these three unappealing requirements seriously, or perhaps you will treat them irresponsibly. Whichever, My purpose is to fulfill your dreams and put your ideals into practice, not to make fun of you or to make a fool out of you.
Excerpted from “Transgressions Will Lead Man to Hell” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The more transgressions you commit, the fewer opportunities you will have to obtain a good destination. Conversely, the fewer transgressions you make, the better your chances become of being praised by God. If your transgressions increase to the point that it is impossible for Me to forgive you, then you will have utterly wasted your chances of being forgiven. As such, your destination will not be above, but below. If you do not believe Me, then be bold and do wrong, and see what that gets you. If you are a person whose practice of the truth is very earnest, then you surely will have an opportunity to be forgiven for your transgressions, and you will disobey less and less frequently. If you are a person who is unwilling to practice the truth, then your transgressions before God will surely increase in number and you will disobey more and more frequently, until you reach the limit, which will be the time of your total destruction. This will be when your pleasant dream of receiving blessings will be ruined. Do not regard your transgressions as the mere mistakes of an immature or foolish person; do not use the excuse that you did not practice the truth because your poor caliber had made it impossible to do so. Moreover, do not simply regard the transgressions you have committed as the acts of someone who did not know any better. If you are good at forgiving yourself and treating yourself with generosity, then I say you are a coward who will never gain the truth, nor will your transgressions ever cease to haunt you; they will keep you from ever meeting the demands of the truth, and cause you to forever remain a loyal companion of Satan. My advice to you is still this: Do not pay attention only to your destination while failing to notice your hidden transgressions; take transgressions seriously, and do not overlook any of them out of concern for your destination.
Excerpted from “Transgressions Will Lead Man to Hell” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The fact is that every person, to a greater or lesser extent, has transgressed. When you do not know something is a transgression, you regard it with a hazy state of mind, or perhaps you still cling to your own opinions, practices, and ways of understanding—but, one day, whether through fellowship with your brothers and sisters or by God’s revelation, you learn this thing is a transgression, an offense against God. What will your attitude be then? Will you still be holding on, reasoning, arguing, hewing to your own ideas, believing that what you are doing accords with the truth? This involves your attitude toward God. With what attitude did David regard his transgressions? Remorse—he would no longer commit them. So, what did he do? He prayed asking God to punish him: “If I make this mistake again, may God punish me and cause me to die!” Such was his resolve; that was true remorse. Can ordinary people achieve this? For ordinary people, it is good if they do not try to argue or tacitly admit responsibility, and, in their hearts, they yet think: “I hope no one brings this up again. I’d be humiliated.” Is this true remorse? To be truly remorseful, you must discard your past evil, put it down, and not do such a thing again. Well, what should be done, then? Will it work just to discard the evil, not to do that thing and not to think of it? What is your attitude toward God? What approach will you take to God exposing you now? (We will accept God’s punishment.) Accepting God’s punishment, His judgment and chastisement—that is one part of it. The other part is accepting God’s scrutiny while you accept His punishment. When you have accepted both parts, how will your resolve be? When you encounter such circumstances and such matters in the future, what will you do? Without true remorse, one cannot discard an evil, and anywhere, at any time, they could go back to their same old way, doing the same bad thing, committing the same transgression, making the same mistake over and over and over again. This reveals man’s attitude toward the truth and toward God. What, then, can someone do to cast off a transgression completely? Practice the truth? One must have the correct attitude toward the truth. And what attitude should someone have and how should they practice to demonstrate their correct attitude toward the truth? What will you do if you fall into temptation when you come across this issue again? Two words: “Stay away!” At the same time, one must set one’s resolve to be punished by God if one makes the same sort of mistake again. To do so is to hate the thing from the bottom of one’s heart, to see it as the most abhorrent thing, an evil thing, a thing that offends God, an eternal stain. The Bible says: “A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Pro 22:3). That is not simplicity—it is stupidity, plain and simple. “Stay away”—how is that as a way to practice? (It is good.) Yet are there times when one cannot stay away? What will you do then? You must pray earnestly to God in your heart, and ask Him to orchestrate things. Some trials are also temptations. Why does God allow such things to befall you? They do not happen by chance; they are God trying and testing you. Does it not speak of man’s attitude toward God that you turn your back on the circumstances He arranges for you and the trials He gives you, and have an attitude of impertinence, and neither pray nor seek, nor search in those circumstances and trials for the path of practice? There are those who say: “I haven’t had such thoughts, and I don’t have that intention.” If you are without intention, then what is your attitude toward God? Some attitudes are deliberate and intended, while some are unintentional—what is yours? Is one who is impertinent and does not take God seriously someone who loves the truth? It is established that one who treats the truth and God as children’s games, as empty air, is not someone who loves the truth.
Excerpted from God’s Fellowship
Some people love the truth, and thus have the strength to pursue the truth. You must be capable of making sacrifices; when faced with something that concerns your own interests, you must be able to put it aside. If you cannot, then how great is your strength to pursue the truth, really? If you cannot put aside your own interests when faced with such things—if you are always selfish, if your mind is always turned in a moment of weakness, and you think to yourself, “This is of no benefit to me, I’ll get nothing for all my efforts, I’ll just do it like this”—then you will surely go astray, and even if you do not commit evil, neither will you be practicing the truth. You do not pursue the truth, nor do you put it into practice, and you have no love for positive things; as a result, when encountering something that has to do with your own reputation and interests, you grow negative and only pay attention to what people think of you and how you can benefit. You do not self-reflect in the least about why you are capable of such negativity or why you have chosen prestige and self-interests over all else. What exactly is the problem here? It is a transgression not to practice according to the truth when an issue arises; if, when a second issue arises, you still do not practice according to the truth, choosing not to put the truth into practice in order to protect your interests and safeguard all aspects of yourself, your transgressions will thus multiply, and what will be your final end? It is clear to see: All these transgressions of yours, along with your choices, your pursuits, and your subjective desires, as well as the directions and paths you choose when taking action—all these things, taken as a whole, mean you ought to end up in hell. Is this not an important matter? Taken together, all these transgressions amount to an evil deed. Some people ponder the problems they encounter in detail; others do not ponder them at all, nor do they pray, and when their pursuits or choices are deviant or go against the truth, they do not come before God, but regard their problems with a hard heart and choose to flee, thinking, “I have escaped the eyes of men, and I don’t see God around. I don’t care whether God knows what I’ve done. As long as my interests are preserved, then the problem’s been handled well enough for me. In all things, my personal interests come first.” In the end, rather than following the way of God or defending the interests of God’s house, they choose to safeguard themselves. Is this not a transgression? It is clear to see that this is a transgression, indeed.
Excerpted from “The Most Important Part of Believing in God Is Putting the Truth Into Practice” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Sometimes, after finishing a job, you feel a little uneasy in your heart. On closer inspection, you find that there is indeed a problem. It must be amended, after which you will feel at ease. Your unease proves there is a problem on which you need to spend extra time and to which you must pay closer attention. This is a serious, responsible attitude toward performing one’s duty. When one can be serious, responsible, dedicated, and hard-working, the work will be done properly. Sometimes, you do not have such a heart, and you cannot find or discover a mistake that is clear as day. Were one to have such a heart, then, with the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit, they would be able to identify the issue. But if the Holy Spirit guided you and gave you such awareness, allowing you to sense that something is wrong, yet you did not have such a heart, you would still be incapable of identifying the problem. So, what does this show? It shows that it is very important that people cooperate; their hearts are very important, and where they direct their thoughts and intentions is very important. God scrutinizes and can see what people hold in their hearts as they perform their duty, and how much energy they exert. It is crucial that people put all their heart and strength into what they do. Cooperation, too, is a crucial component. Only if people strive to have no regrets about the duties they have completed and the things they have done, and not to be in debt to God, will they be acting with all their heart and strength. If, today, you do not give all your heart and strength, then, when something goes wrong later, and there are consequences, will it not be too late for regrets? You will be forever indebted; it will be a stain on you! A stain in the performance of one’s duty is a transgression. You must therefore strive to do properly the share of things you must and ought to do, with all your heart and strength. Those things must not be done carelessly or perfunctorily; you must not have any regrets. In this way, the duties you perform at this time shall be remembered by God. Those things remembered by God are good deeds. What, then, are the things that are not remembered? They are transgressions. People might not accept that they are evil deeds if they were described thus presently, but, if a day comes when there are serious consequences to these things, and they become a negative influence, then you will sense that these things are not mere behavioral transgressions, but evil deeds. When you realize this, you will be regretful, and think to yourself: I should have chosen an ounce of prevention! With a little more thought and effort, I wouldn’t have this problem. Nothing will wipe this eternal stain from your heart, and it would cause trouble if it should leave you in permanent debt. So, today, every time you perform your duty, or accept a commission, you must strive to do it with all your strength and all your heart. You must do it such that you are free of guilt and regret, so that it is remembered by God, and is a good deed. Do not act carelessly and perfunctorily, with one eye open and the other closed; you will regret it, and be unable to make amends. It will constitute transgression, and ultimately, in your heart, there will always be guilt, indebtedness, and accusation. Which of these two paths is best? Which path is the right way? Performing your duty with all your heart and strength, and preparing and accumulating good deeds, without any regrets. Do not let your transgressions accumulate, regret them, and fall into debt. What happens when a person has committed too many transgressions? They are accruing God’s anger at them in His presence! If you transgress ever more, and God’s wrath toward you grows ever greater, then, ultimately, you shall be punished.
Excerpted from God’s Fellowship
Some people who have committed a small transgression wonder: “Has God exposed me and cast me out? Will He strike me down?” This time, God has come to work not in order to smite people, but to save them to the greatest extent possible. Who is entirely free of error? If everyone were struck down, then how could it be “salvation”? Some transgressions are done on purpose, while others are done involuntarily. If you are able to change after you recognize the transgressions you commit involuntarily, would God strike you down before you changed? Can God save people that way? That is not how He works! Regardless of whether you transgress involuntarily or out of a rebellious nature, you must remember that, once the transgression has been committed, you must hurry up and wake up to reality, and press onward; no matter what situation arises, you must press onward. The work God is doing is that of salvation, and He will not casually strike down the people He wants to save. Regardless of the degree to which you are capable of transforming, even if God struck you down in the end, it would certainly be righteous for Him to do so; and when the time came, He would make you understand. Right now, you should care about striving for the truth, focusing on life entry, and seeking to fulfill your duty properly. There is no mistake in this! Ultimately, no matter how God treats you, it is always righteous; you should not doubt this and you do not need to worry. Even if you cannot understand God’s righteousness at the moment, there will come a day when you will be convinced. God does His work in the light and justly; He openly makes everything known. If you apply careful contemplation to this subject, you will come to the conclusion that God’s work is saving people and transforming their dispositions. Since His work is the work of transforming people’s dispositions, if people do not reveal their corruption, then nothing can be done, and nothing will be achieved. If, after people have revealed their corruption, they do not repent in the least, and act still as they have, then they will offend God’s disposition. God will carry out different degrees of retribution on people, and they will pay the price for their transgressions. On occasion, you unconsciously become dissolute, and God points it out to you, prunes you, and deals with you. If you change for the better, God will not hold you accountable. This is the normal process of a disposition transforming, and the true significance of the work of salvation is manifest in this process. This is the key!
Excerpted from “God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
As previously mentioned, events of the past can be wiped clean at a stroke; the future can be made to supersede the past; God’s tolerance is as boundless as the sea. Yet there are also principles to these words. It is not the case that God will wipe clean any sin you have committed, no matter how great. All the work of God has principles. In the past, an administrative decree was set that addresses this issue—God forgives and pardons all sins one commits before accepting His name, and there is a system to address those who continue to sin after having entered the church: One who commits a minor sin is given the chance to repent, while repeat offenders are expelled. God has always tolerated people to the greatest extent possible in His work, and, in this, it can be seen that God’s work is truly the work of saving people. However, if, in this final stage of work, you yet commit unpardonable sins, then you are truly irredeemable, and you cannot change. God has a process for purifying and changing people’s dispositions. In the process of constant expression and transformation of people’s corrupt natures, God achieves His aim of salvation. Some people think: “Since it is my nature, I will expose it as much as possible, and after it is exposed, I will know it and put the truth into practice.” Is this process necessary? If you are truly one who puts the truth into practice, and see some of others’ various struggles in yourself, then you will do to avoid the same behaviors in yourself. Is this not an indirect transformation? Sometimes, it occurs to you to do something, but, before you do, you realize that it is wrong, and you forsake it. Does this not also result in your being saved? The practice of each truth is a process. When one has just begun their practice, accuracy and freedom from mistakes are impossible, as is a practice uncontaminated by one’s own will. There remain several matters you handle entirely according to your own will, but, having been dealt with and pruned, you will ultimately come to practice entirely according to God’s will and words. This is transformation.
Excerpted from “God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
As long as you have a shred of hope, now, then whether or not God remembers past events, what mentality should you maintain? “I must seek a change in my disposition, seek to know God, never again be fooled by Satan, and never again do anything that would bring shame to God’s name.” What key areas determine whether people can be saved and whether they have any hope? The crux of the matter is, after listening to a sermon, whether or not you can understand the truth, whether or not you can put the truth into practice, and whether or not you can change. These are the key areas. If you only feel remorse, and when you do things you just do whatever you want, in the same old ways, not only not seeking the truth, still clinging to old views and old practices, and not only being utterly without understanding, but instead getting worse and worse, then you will be without hope, and should be written off. The more you understand God, the more you understand yourself and the more thorough an understanding you have of your own nature, the more you will be able to master yourself. After you have summed up your experience, you will never again fail in this matter. In actual fact, everyone has blemishes, it is just that they are not held accountable. Everyone has them—some have small ones, and some have large ones; some speak plainly, and some are secretive. Some people do things that others know about, while some people do things without others knowing about it. There are blemishes on everyone, and they all reveal certain corrupt dispositions, like arrogance or self-righteousness; or else they make some transgressions, or some mistakes or errors in their work, or they are slightly rebellious. These are all pardonable things, as they are things that no corrupted person can avoid. However, once you have understood the truth, you should avoid them, and it will then no longer be necessary to always be troubled by things that happened in the past. Instead, the fear is that you will still not change even after having understood, that you will continue to do things even when you know they are wrong, and that you will continue to act a certain way even after being told that it is wrong. Such people are beyond redemption.
Excerpted from “To Serve God One Should Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Man must know his corrupt disposition. He must have knowledge of his nature, of what he has done and the path he has taken, or of his transgressions and mistakes—he must dissect them. Moreover, man must see clearly why he is capable of such things, and what the nature of doing such things is. He must also understand what precisely God intends for man. Man may feel guilty, indebted or indicted for mistakes he has made, but is it right if he is always stuck in a negative state? Is this kind of approach or having such thoughts correct? Does it accord with the truth? Does it accord with God’s will? Has your state truly emerged from this? Has it truly been remedied? Or does that past matter still affect your current practice or the path you are walking—does it cast its pall? If you often feel its effect, this shows that the matter has not been entirely resolved in your heart, and that you have not come to know its essence or have not derived from it the lesson you should. This is not only an issue of not knowing God—it is something to which man’s nature or essence gives rise. What problem is it now pressing to consider? It is how to walk the path ahead—that chapter is over. God treats man’s expressions of corruption according to whether man is ultimately able to accept the truth and resolve his corruption. Moreover, people are the descendants of Satan, and their nature essence is the same whether or not they have offended God’s disposition. It may have happened to be that you did something, yet another person just did not have the chance to do it. And since you who did the thing, you must be clear in your heart about the attitude you should adopt before God, the answers you ought to submit before Him, and what He wants. When you understand these things completely and regard them with complete clarity, pursue as you ought to, and do not be influenced and constrained by that thing, but take the path ahead as you ought to do—leave it behind you once and for all, then perform your duty as you ought. In one regard, performing your duty now is a way to atone for past transgressions. This is the negative regard, and though it is not very desirable, it is the minimum acceptable mindset you should have. In another regard, you must be proactive, and say: “Whatever I did in the past, I now understand God’s will and the truth. I should do my utmost to offer up all I’m capable of—to offer it to God. I should fulfill my responsibilities well and do my duty well. That’s what a created being should do.” You must enter via the positive regard. No matter whether you have notions about God or you offend His disposition by exposing your corruption, you must reflect on yourself and seek the truth. Learn your lesson, and do not let that negative thing from the past influence you. Leave it behind you, once and for all.
Excerpted from “Only by Pursuing the Truth Can One Resolve Their Notions and Misunderstandings of God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
Due to having been corrupted by Satan, people are liable to reveal their corruption in the course of God’s work, and they are also liable to commit some transgressions. However, at the same time, God’s work still achieves some results in them. If God did not give any thought to results, and only looked at the human nature being revealed, then that could not be called saving people. The result of salvation is principally manifested in people’s fulfilling of their duties and putting the truth into practice. God looks at how many achievements they have made in these areas, and then at the extent of their transgressions; both factors contribute to determining their outcomes and whether or not they will remain. For instance, in the past, some people revealed a great deal of corruption and cared a great deal about the flesh; they were not willing to expend themselves for God, nor did they uphold the interests of God’s house. However, after listening to sermons for several years, they have undergone real change. They know to reach toward the truth principles in the fulfilling of their duties, and they achieve more and more results. They can also stand on the side of God in all things and do their utmost to uphold the work of God’s house. This is what is meant by transforming one’s life disposition, and it is this transformation that God wants. Also, some people, when notions occurred to them, used to like to spread them around, but now when they have some notions, they are able to seek the truth and be submissive without spreading their notions or doing anything against God. Has a transformation happened there? Some people, as soon as they were dealt with and pruned by someone, would immediately resist; however, when that happens to them now, they are able to know themselves and accept it. Afterward, they undergo some actual transformation. Is this not an effect? However, no matter how great your transformation is, your nature cannot be changed all at once. It is impossible to be completely free of transgressions. If someone embarks upon the right track of belief in God, and knows to seek the truth in all things, then even if they show a bit of disobedience, they will be conscious of it at the time. This awareness can bring them immediate transformation, and their conditions will get better and better. They may commit a transgression once or twice, but not over and over again. This is what transformation is. This kind of transformation means that someone who has experienced God’s work can put more truth into practice and can do some of what God requires. Such a person will commit fewer and fewer transgressions and be disobedient with less and less severity. From this it becomes evident that God’s work has taken effect; what He wants is this sort of expression in people, showing that these results have been achieved in them. Accordingly, the way God handles people’s outcomes or how He treats someone is absolutely righteous, reasonable, and fair. You need only put all your efforts into expending yourself for Him, boldly and assuredly practice the truth that you should practice, without hesitation, and God will not treat you unfairly. Think about it: Can those who put the truth into practice be punished by God? Many people are always suspicious of His righteous disposition, afraid that they will still be punished even if they put the truth into practice; they are always afraid that even if they show loyalty, He will not see it. Such people have no knowledge of God’s righteous disposition.
Excerpted from “The Implications of God’s Determination of People’s Outcomes Based on Performance” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days